This is so fascinating. Stereotypes, rather than reflecting reality, create reality.
“The perceived sexuality of Filipina women in Lebanon is double sided: on the one hand, the Filipina live-in maid is seen as an asexual binit (girl) who must be protected in order to guard the family honor; on the other hand, she is seen as a threatening sharmuta (whore). The binit can become a sharmuta at any moment and bring chaos to the home if the madame’s control over the live-in Filipina maid is lessened and the latter gets corrupted by the outside world. For this reason, many Lebanese madames are reluctant to let Filipina maids outside of the home alone. In many cases, a domestic worker’s sexual desires are assumed to be unnatural and inappropriate. The negative stereotype associated with Filipina women’s sexuality are spread through warnings and stories told by recruitment agencies, and rumors. Filipina women, compared to their Ethiopian and Sri Lankan counterparts, are seen as fairer, sexually more attractive, and promiscuous. These images of Filipina women legislate employers’ tight control of their bodies and persons. For Filipina women, their assumed sexual promiscuity and attractiveness sometimes give them opportunities for exploring and experimenting with their own sexuality. For those who are allowed a day-off outside the house or who freelance illegally, some might start dressing and acting in a sexually assertive manner. They might go clubbing, have much younger boyfriends, or have multiple sexual partners. Among Filipina women, there is both acceptance and ambivalence toward their sexual conduct Some resent them for perpetuating the bad reputation that Filipina women have acquired in Lebanon. Ironically, then, while negative sexual stereotypes might legitimate control over Filipina women in Lebanon, these same stereotypes might also permit these women to exercise more choice in how they express their sexuality.”
What a universally transferable tragedy! Not to diminish the unique circumstances of specific people in a specific place, but by golly, the constant Otherizing, scapegoating and sensationalizing of people into GODS! and DEVILS! (virgins and whores)(vomit, so much vomit I expel at the diametric stereotypes that prove their vacuity!) If one is posited as being both GOOD (binit) and BAD (sharmuta), the only logical conclusion is that one is NEITHER; or rather: BOTH, or rather: a full human person who isn’t one stereotyped fantasy/slander or the other. When will the people of the world stop blaming other people for failing to fulfill their OWN fantasies of perfection of ruin, etc.? What if we were only responsible for ourselves?
Man o man…
Fear creates stereotypes, not the other way around e.g. “I fear that I am sexual so NO! It’s OTHER PEOPLE who are sexual, not me! THESE PEOPLE, this group, women, gays, what have you are inherently, “naturally,” biologically sexual (as if that’s a bad thing) whereas I am PURE OF HEART and GOOD OF SPIRIT/SOUL/whatever. I am normal. Others are perverse.” Stereotypes, in turn, create “reality” (i.e. reality, as the internalization of prejudices comes to seem fixed and immutable, “the way it is.”). Fear of the Self (in the Other) is the fuel that propels these stereotypes: Oppressing the other with fantasies that result from divesting yourself of responsibility.
What’s that stuff Butler says about this? We learn to be the people we’re told we are? Before we have a chance to be ourselves, who we could have been or could still be, we become caricatures that people make of us e.g. sexy or stupid, irresponsible or gloriously innocent (bleccchhhh) Filipina maids who must be sacrificed as examples of sexual depravity or celebrated as signs of independent womanhood or static object lessons in my WordPress diatribe against hypocrisy (sorry)(The Enemy is Us!).
If only dudes were taught that it was a cool thing (it is! how could it not be?) to be responsible for one’s own feelings and desires and to actively work against patriarchal hypocrisy that superficially benefits men but ultimately tramples all peoples’ ability to be decent and ethical!, if only men weren’t blindly posited as dangerous but infallible and women weren’t posited as impossibles opposites of clean or dirty, if all women weren’t responsible for whatever should befall them and all men weren’t taught that cruelty, impunity, rape & pillage were the ways of “Manhood,” then maybe we could all come into our sexual owns without being so traumatized and humiliated by this cruel, weird world.
Oh yeah, I also think all this pressure on women to be everything would be severely and wonderfully reduced if Masculinity weren’t defined as rigidly reactionary, powerful but impotent in that men are put forth as sexually desirous subjects requiring objects to fulfill them. Rather, if men were associated with bodies and sex in the way women have always been encouraged, required and then punished for being!, I think we’d all be more in touch with our own external “sexiness”/internal sexuality and wouldn’t have to mandate that OTHER people act out what we feel we are not permitted to feel and do what we are not allowed to do, etc. Which is to say: “Gender-bending” which is to say: Everyone being everyone. Because: come on. Who wants to always be the master man or female slave? It’s much more fun/realistic to be both.
Here’s a Facebook meme of my sorrow: